Tag Archives: BJP

‘People, not the press, are the real fourth estate’

The press in India, like the press elsewhere, holds on to the belief that it is the Fourth Estate of democracy, after the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, although the press in India, as much as the press elsewhere, finds its institutional and individual integrity increasingly under question. In an article on the Open…

Don’t laugh: Do journos make good politicians?

PRITAM SENGUPTA in New Delhi and SHARANYA KANVILKAR in Bombay write: The stunning defeat of the BJP in the general elections has been dissected so many times and by so many since May 16 that there is little that has been left unsaid. What has been left unsaid is how the BJP’s defeat also marks…

In a democracy, prince and pauper beg together

Given the kind of space, importance and attention newspapers, magazines and websites give photographs these days, it would not be unfair to say that the just-concluded general elections was visually below-par. There was no stellar frame, no standout picture, no large canvas frame that sticks in the mind’s eye. ‘Astro’ Mohan (in picture, left) of the Kannada daily Udayavani…

How come nobody heard or saw the worm turn?

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: Hindsight, as the moronic aphorism goes, is always 20/20. And we have been seeing plenty of hindsight dressed as foresight over the last fortnight following the announcement of the results of the general elections, which bucked the “anti-incumbency” cliche and put the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance back in power. #…

How Chandan Mitra has his halwa and hogs it too

One of India’s oldest English dailies, The Pioneer, has undergone not so much a transformation but a transmogrification in recent years. Once a paper which had Rudyard Kipling on its rolls, and for which Winston Churchill served as a war correspondent, the low-circulation paper has returned to its politically conservative roots and become an unabashed…

How IIJNM students put the RTI to good effect

Only 10 per cent of India’s 1.1 billion population is said to be aware of the Right to Information (RTI) Act which grants citizens the right to access government documents. Nevertheless, its power and potential is unmatched. For a small fee, any Indian, male or female, rich or poor, can step up to “the scariest…

Prime Minister, maybe, but not a very good sub

Indian prime minister hopeful, L.K. Advani, prides himself as a former journalist, having worked at the journal Organiser, published by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), where for seven years he wrote film reviews. Former Mid-Day editor Aakar Patel uses Advani’s memoirs My country, My life to assess the man credited with the “when-asked-to-bend, the-Indian-media-crawled” quote…

Tehelka promoters ‘vindicated’ by official papers

First Global, the brokerage promoted by Shankar Sharma and Devina Mehra which had a 14.50 per cent stake in the webzine turned magazine Tehelka, has scored a major victory with official documents reportedly showing that the firm had been harassed by market regulators on trumped-up charges, after the then BJP-led government had been shamed by…

Bajrang Dal singles out NDTV for pub coverage

Mangalore, on India’s west coast, has seen individual and institutional freedoms being transgressed since the BJP government took over in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. A legislator’s wife disappeared and committed suicide under a hail of speculation. Churches, convents, and prayer halls have been attacked. Buses carrying students of a co-education college have been…

Indian media is large & vibrant, but how free is it?

BHAMY V. SHENOY writes from Houston, Texas: Every newspaper reader in India should be shocked at the way B. V. Seetharam, the publisher and editor of the Kannada daily Karavali Ale, is being repeatedly harassed by a democratically elected  government in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. According to this version, Seetharam was arrested last…

Pseudonymous author spells finis to Mint editor?

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Journalists at Mint, the business daily launched by the Hindustan Times group as “an unbiased and clear-minded chronicler of the Indian dream”, are in a state of shock after the dramatic weekend announcement of the resignation of its founding editor, Raju Narisetti (in picture), less than two years after…

Not the land of the cow, the land of holy cows

The “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic” of India is fast becoming, if it has not already become, the “notionally sovereign, chauvinistic, parochial, intolerant republic”. Especially from a media point of view. On Sunday, political psychologist Ashis Nandy came under attack from the BJP government of Gujarat for an “opinion” piece blaming the middle class for…

‘A DISGRACEFUL ASSAULT ON MEDIA FREEDOM’

What is the role of a newspaper in a democratic society? Is it just supposed to reassure us that the sun rose majestically in the east this morning? Is it committing a cardinal sin in reporting that the big fellow may have strayed off his path while we were groggy? Is a newspaper wrong in…

Why Rajdeep and Barkha must decline Padma Shri

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: Now that CNN-IBN’s editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai and NDTV’s managing editor Barkha Dutt have become the first television journalists in the history of independent India to get the Padma awards, they must do three things. 1) They must revel in the high honour. They must thank everybody including the viewers who…

‘Media became a prisoner of its own fabrications’

Swapan Dasgupta in The Telegraph, Calcutta: “In Gujarat, the media were neither disinterested observers nor merely biased against Narendra Modi; they were an active participant. From disseminating ridiculous stories about lack of crowds in Modi’s meetings and overplaying the Patel revolt in Saurashtra to Yogendra Yadav’s self-confessed doctoring of the exit polls, the media took…

‘The English media is being pigeon-holed’

The branding of the “English media” in India as “elitist, pseudo-secular, left-wing, liberal, disconnected, rootless, pro-Muslim, anti-Hindu, pro-Congress, anti-BJP”—as if the English media is one animal; as if all of us receive our assignments and paycheques from Prakash Karat if not the Pope himself—would have gone down as one of the most successful campaigns undertaken…

Is the BJP still just a ‘Hindu nationalist party’?

The phrase “Hindu nationalist” has almost always prefaced western media reports of the BJP, and it is no different despite Narendra Modi‘s sensational, conversation-stopping hat-trick. But it is not just fair-skinned whites who feel dutybound to slap the appellation. # “Hindu Radical re-elected in India,” screams The New York Times. “On Sunday, voters re-elected the…

‘Modi has punctured vanity of corporate media’

Sheela Bhatt, managing editor (national affairs), rediff.com, and one of the few journalists who predicted the Gujarat elections accurately, on the strange symbiosis between the media and chief minister Narendra Modi: “In Gujarat, many people wondered: “Look, how powerful is Modi. He can even defeat the media.” “Today, the common belief is that the corporate…

A letter-writer asks the Indian media a question

A powerful politician murderously gunned down by a younger brother one early morning. The son of the deceased caught in a drug overdose with the secretary of the deceased less than a month later. A hurried marriage for the son of the deceased with a childhood sweetheart. A hurried arangetram into the youth wing of…

How Narendra Modi has bred media cynicism

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi‘s image—whom The Economist this week called a “disgrace”—has been built on the rapid economic development of his State, coupled with his obscene demonisation of the “other” and a distrust of all media that doesn’t support his State-sponsored pogrom of 2002. Modi walks out of television interviews when questioned about the…